June 03, 2005

Two Establishment Clause Cases [more to come]

by Guest Contributor

[Jason Samuel] Two cases yet to be decided by the Supreme Court that might be of interest to our readers are the McCreary and Van Orden cases. Since both are about religious displays, they're both Establishment clause issues.

McCreary County v. ACLU

Argued: March 2, 2005
Facts of the Case
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued three Kentucky counties in federal district court for displaying framed copies of the Ten Commandments in courthouses and public schools. The ACLU argued the displays violated the First Amendment's establishment clause, which barred the government from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion." The district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the displays violated the establishment clause.

Question Presented
Do Ten Commandments displays in public schools and in courthouses violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which barred government from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion?"

Van Orden v. Perry

Argued: March 2, 2005
Facts of the Case
Thomas Van Orden sued Texas in federal district court, arguing a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol building building represented an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. Orden argued this violated the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibited the government from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion." The district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Orden and said the monument served a valid secular purpose and would not appear to a reasonable observer to represent a government endorsement of religion.

Question Presented
Does a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of a state capitol building violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which barred the government from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion?"


[Adapted from Oyez]

June 3, 2005 11:43 PM | TrackBack
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